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Child Exploitation

Virginia man convicted on child pornography charges

NORFOLK, Va. — A 28 year-old man from Virginia Beach, Va., was convicted of receipt, possession and distribution of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. These charges were the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Robert Springstead of Virginia Beach, Va. was originally indicted on April 20, 2011. A superseding indictment returned on August 3, 2011, charging him with 11 counts of distribution of child pornography, three counts of receipt of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, two counts of receipt of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, and one count of possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.

“The behavior of Mr. Springstead destroyed the innocence of young children," said John P. Torres, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI field office in Washington, D.C. "ICE HSI remains resolute in its determination to ensure purveyors of child pornography are identified and arrested for their crimes."

According to court records and evidence at trial, Springstead was identified as trading child pornography on a sophisticated peer-to-peer network on the Internet. Springstead distributed these images to undercover agents in both Delaware and Texas. Springstead was also found to be in possession of more than 1,500 of images and movies of child pornography as well as thousands of images of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

Mr. Springstead faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on January 23, 2012.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.